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Rancho Christian cruises past Franklin in Regional 6AA title game

Rancho Christian cruises past Franklin in Regional 6AA title game
Franklin linebacker Daniel Rodriguez (left) tries to tackle Rancho Christian's Jalen Schieberl during their regional playoff game Friday night. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

They may be small, but the Temecula Rancho Christian Eagles played like giants throughout Friday night's 56-21 victory over Los Angeles Franklin in a CIF Football Regional 6AA Championship Bowl Game at Franklin High.

Despite having only 215 students, Rancho Christian beat teams from schools 12 times its size on the way to winning the Southern Section Division 13 title under third-year Coach Jim Kunau. So the Eagles (13-2) weren't intimidated facing Franklin (enrollment 1,300), the City Section Division III champion.

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Jaden Schieberl ran 57 yards for his 27th touchdown of the season and Elijah Campbell's two-point run gave Rancho Christian an 8-7 lead. Colton Bulger recovered his own fumble in the end zone and Trevor Jones caught the two-point conversion to put the Eagles in front, 16-13. Campbell then ran 53 yards for a touchdown to increase the lead to 23-13 on the first play of the second quarter.

Jojo Saatzer caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Carter Treadway, Emma Baker kicked a 35-yard field goal and Jones caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Treadway on the final play of the first half to give Rancho Christian a 33-13 halftime lead.

Campbell's two-yard dive capped the Eagles' first drive of the second half and his third touchdown run late in the third quarter put the game out of reach.

"Elijah was an absolute dynamic force on both sides of the ball tonight," Kunau said of Campbell. "He was the difference in the game."

Daniel Celis returned an interception nine yards for a touchdown on Rancho Christian's first offensive play to put the Panthers (13-2) ahead, 7-0, and he caught a three-yard touchdown pass on Franklin's first drive of the second half to cut its deficit to 48-21.

"We knew they were a tough, strong team and we had to play to the best of our abilities to beat them," Franklin wide receiver Leonel Santiago said. "We played like we had nothing to lose. Our own mistakes killed us, but we still have a championship and no one can take that away from us."

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